How Agile and Outsourcing Can Complement Each Other


To pursue the agile approach in software development, you must have an agile team by your side. But what if you cannot find enough team members who fit the criteria? That’s where agile outsourcing comes in.

Today, we’ll look at how to successfully outsource agile teams for faster iteration of your software product.

Is Agile Outsourcing A Good Idea? (The Answer is Yes, And Here's How) agile outsourcing

What is Agile Outsourcing?

Agile outsourcing is the idea of outsourcing your project to a third-party team who practices and specializes in agile methodology. These development teams are smaller for rapid deployment and for achieving faster results.

Outsourcing is a common method of acquiring additional expertise in project work, but agile outsourcing is more specific about its requirements.

Steps for Agile Outsourcing

Here’s how to successfully outsource agile teams if you want top-of-the-line results.

1. Craft Your Sourcing Strategy

First, you need to start with crafting the perfect sourcing strategy. The biggest challenge in an outsourcing scenario is to figure out which functions you want to insource or outsource. The four main archetypes for sourcing agile teams are:

  • Insourced
  • Company-Driven
  • Balanced
  • Vendor Driven

Anyone looking to outsource should find the balance between these methods to form the perfect agile development team. It’s not a one-time event, either. Any company will need to perform the same analysis for every agile team since the working circumstances will vary.

You need to verify if the required talents are present within the agency you are trying to strike a deal with. If not, you must verify if they can generate the required talents fast enough.

2. Select An Outsourcing Vendor

Now that you have chosen the sourcing strategy and made it an agile project, it’s time to find the right vendor. But there’s a problem: despite many agencies adapting to agile methodology, many vendors still follow the traditional approach.

You can add the following abilities of an agency to a checklist and see if they have them to fit the criteria you are looking for:

  • Financials
  • Technical Capabilities
  • IP Protection
  • Local Resources
  • Track Record
  • Adaptability To Agile

Aside from all that, you must determine if the vendor you’re partnering with has sufficient business experience and ideas that they can implement and commit to the outcomes of the development phase.

3. Negotiate & Create A Contract

Before you sign the contract, you need to take note of the contract itself recognizes and facilitates the hallmarks of a successful agile team. It’s not just about putting people together to finish a project; it’s about bringing people together to work in a rhythm for longer terms.

A team requires time to work in sync with each team member. When a team is under contract, you avoid frequent member swap-outs and maintain the rhythm.

To maintain constant team composition, negotiating mutual benefits with the agency is a great idea instead of relying on a simple contract clause. Then both the vendor and the client can use the right KPIs to measure the team’s performance once the work begins.

4. Set Up The Work Environment

You might want the team to start working on your project from day one of onboarding, but here’s the thing: cultural alignment is very difficult for two different sets of teams. The difference comes from the new team being from a different region of the world.

You might consider the solution very simple: treating the external team as same as the internal team. However, quite a few practices are that straightforward, according to the Agile manifesto.

But sometimes, the process gets more complicated due to the team being remote or external team members switching places to become permanent team members. But following the right agile practices like communication and dynamic team formation can fix them as quickly as they arise.

5. Constantly Evaluate Your Partnership With The Vendor

Agile teams need several months to experiment with all their methods and to make the most of their team to reach peak success. Your first evaluation shouldn’t evaluate a vendor and the team they provide.

Suppose you see the constantly admirable performance and get the desired results. In that case, you should continue your partnership with the current vendor or look for a different vendor otherwise.

But it’s not always as straightforward as that. Sometimes, the results may not be what you expect, even when the team is perfectly following agile methodology practices. In that case, both the internal and external teams should collaborate to resolve the problems.

Tips For Effective Agile Outsourcing

Here are a few helpful tips for effective agile outsourcing to help you make the steps we mentioned more effective.

1. Choose The Right Agile Partner

Don’t just choose a vendor based on how fast they promise to complete the project. There’s more to it than meets the eye. Keep an eye out for these details if you want to know if you should partner with them:

  • How does the company culture operate?
  • Do they have relevant experience for your project?
  • Is their website updated?
  • Do they have professional certificates?
  • When they work with a client, do they collaborate with the company culture of their client?

2. Evaluate The Entire Team

The agile development method requires teamwork and collaboration, and we cannot stress enough how important collaboration and teamwork are for any winning agile team. It’s okay to expect the best output from every team member, but it’s best to evaluate the team based on team performance and not on individuals.

Your team’s track record doesn’t rely on a single designer or a developer. Ensuring a great team environment can help the whole team to flourish, and you can measure your success more accurately.

3. Ensure Proper Communication

Though we’ve already highlighted the importance of communication in every content where we talk about agile, it’s still as important as always. The agile development process relies solely on communication between the developers.

But it’s not just about the developer team. The vendor and the client have to communicate properly to succeed as well. The client expresses their needs, the vendor passes over the requirements to the external team, and then the team communicates among themselves to get it done.

Ultimately, it all relies on more and more communication and understanding of the organizational culture.

4. Automation For The Win

The agile methodology emphasizes continuous work, development and improvement. The deadlines for every iteration can be either a couple of weeks or a month at most. You cannot reach that deadline without utilizing automation.

The best section to automate is the testing section. Every product needs to be constantly tested during development to figure out the bugs and improvement opportunities. The team should develop a testing automation framework available to the client and all the developers simultaneously.

5. Arrange Frequent Team Visits

Face-to-face visits improve the bonding and trust between each team member. If the external team is remote, it might take a lot of planning and budgeting. Still, these visits can significantly improve team collaboration and resolve long-term issues that could break the project.

6. Keep Risk Mitigation In Mind

When calculating your external team’s performance, you need to keep each sprint as short as possible. Once each sprint is finished, define and clarify your success criteria. After the evaluation, you can make necessary adjustments to mitigate risks regarding the product.

Benefits of Agile Outsourcing

1. Faster Delivery, Higher Quality, Lesser Cost

When outsourcing your development to a high-quality vendor, your projects continue in full force with agile methodology practices. You get accelerated product delivery with superior quality because of a dedicated team, and the labor cost is much lower.

2. Better Business Goal Alignment

Vendors adopt the agile method to improve their business and development alignment. It enables the vendors to deliver high-quality results and increases their credibility.

The development process isn’t just there to make the company look cool; it’s there to offer the client the best product along the lines of their requirements while keeping the client on the same page as the development team.

This becomes even more important in an outsourcing scenario. When an external team is working on a product, the client must be able to utilize the utmost expertise of the working team to get the most out of the developed product.

3. Flexible Software Development Process

The ability to adapt to changes in priorities and development procedures with higher flexibility is one of the strongest points of agile application development. To stay competitive in the modern market, any development team has to be ready to shift at any given moment while the whole team goes along with the planned changes.

With your agile development partner, you’re getting access to a team of professional experts excelling in working with constant changes with utmost flexibility.

4. Single Process Is Enough For Entire Software Development Lifecycle

With agile methodology, you don’t need to work in separate methods to bring the team together and make the final product publication work. Agile methodology has it all under control: from concept to prototype, from MVP creation to final product launch- all of it is part of a single big process.

Common Problems With Agile Outsourcing

Though the benefits are endless, there are some challenges you will face when you’re leveraging agile outsourcing.

  • Team collaboration might not be adequate for product development to succeed.
  • The external team might have lower morale due to feelings of isolation.
  • IT infrastructure might not be aligned with the agile practices of the external team.
  • The in-house employees and the external team may have a large skill gap.
  • Language barriers may interrupt communications frequently, taking up extra time for clarification.
  • The management and the team can have entirely different definitions of “completed.”
  • The team may not bring in external resources aside from employee experience.

To Wrap It All Up

Agile outsourcing is the fastest way to get an agile team started with your product development. The Agile practices also ensure that you’re getting a swift delivery of a seamlessly perfect product.

Looking for an expert team to outsource your next project? Impala Intech is here to help our professionals and their mastery of the Agile manifesto!


How Does an Agile Outsourcing Provider Set Itself Apart From Traditional Outsourcing?

Traditional software development outsourcing may only get you experienced software developers, but agile outsourcing vendors allow you access to developers who follow agile practices for maximum customer satisfaction.

How Do I Manage Communication in an Agile Outsourcing Team?

Various communication and collaboration tools help open up different communication channels between agile teams.

How Do I Ensure Quality in Agile Outsourcing?

Quality in agile outsourcing comes from the quality of the team and the vendor providing said team. If the vendor is credible, the team will deliver high-quality products when the software development life cycle is complete.

How Do I Ensure Data Security in Agile Software Development Outsourcing?

As a product owner, you can create a detailed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and make the vendor sign the document for maximum secrecy.

How Do You Handle Conflicts With an External Team?

Development conflicts can frequently rise between internal and external teams. The best way to resolve any conflict is to arrange team visits and face-to-face meetings so the team can openly discuss and resolve the issues.